THE PM has thrown the future of her poker machine reforms into doubt, refusing to restate her commitment to mandatory betting loss limits.
Moments ago, Julia Gillard declined to stand by her government's previous guarantees that it would introduce legislation for mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines, The Australian reports.
"I'm not going to be engaging in comments on the discussions I'm having (with independent MP Andrew Wilkie)," Ms Gillard said in response.
"When we have something to say we'll say."
Challenged to explain why, after repeatedly stating her commitment to reform, she was now refusing to do so, she would not; beyond pointing out that the talks with Mr Wilkie were ongoing.
"We're in a course of discussions and it's my intention to pursue those discussion to the end and then when we've got something to say, we'll say it," she said.
"We'll be continuing discussions over coming days.''
Independent anti-pokies senator Nick Xenophon yesterday questioned Ms Gillard's commitment to reform, suggesting she may put up a package of changes in the certain knowledge they will be defeated in parliament, in a "double-cross" of Mr Wilkie.
Ms Gillard, speaking in Hobart, where yesterday she held a two-hour meeting with Mr Wilkie on the promised reforms, attacked Senator Xenophon as speaking from ignorance.
"Senator Xenophon was not in those discussions yesterday so the people who best know how those discussions are going are the participants in them," she said. "And both participants me and Mr Wilkie describe them as constructive because they were."
However, after the talks, Mr Wilkie declined to restate his previous confidence that the Gillard government intended to pursue mandatory pre-commitment, whereby punters must set a limit on their losses before they gamble.
Mr Wilkie has made the passage of poker machine reform legislation, before the May federal budget, a condition of his ongoing support for Labor to govern.
However, his hold on the government has weakened following the defection of disaffected Liberal Peter Slipper to the Speaker's chair.
Ms Gillard refused to comment on calls by the Greens and Senator Xenophon for an alternative $1 bet limit on all poker machines.
Read more at The Australian.